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Dachelys Valdés Moreno y Hope Bastian con su pequeño y la certificación de nacimiento emitida. Photo: Q de Cuir.
Dachelys Valdés Moreno and Hope Bastian with their baby and issued birth certificate. Photo: Q de Cuir.

LGBTQ Cuba: Paulo's two mothers

For the first time in its history, the Cuban Government had issued a birth certificate that listed two women as mothers.

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A long odyssey with a happy ending. Thus ended the adventure of Dachelys Valdés Moreno and Hope Bastian, both residents of Cuba and mothers of a boy named Paulo. A child so desired that for giving him birth and legally recognizing him as their son, they had to leave the island and go to Florida, where they underwent an assisted reproduction service and later tried to register him in the Cuban civil registry.

A slow, tedious and obstacle-filled process whose success has been a milestone in the struggle for the rights of LGBTQ couples in Cuba.

Last Thursday, the Cuban Ministry of Justice finally issued the birth certificate of Paulo, born outside Cuba after Hope and Dachelys, a Cuban and an American respectively. They realized a gay couple had little or no rights inside the country and could only make them effective outside, in the United States, to continue fighting with the Cuban embassy through legal channels until the laws turned in their favor. 

The procedure would have been relatively simple if Cuba would legally contemplate equal marriage, something that will be discussed next year during the updating of the new Family Code. However, this step seems to pave the way for a recognition of gay marriage, after the article that would have opened the door to its legalization in the final draft of the new Cuban Constitution was removed. 

Cuba's Ministry of Justice still does not officially recognize that the two women are a couple, but ruled that instead of "mother and father" there should be a small but significant change in the name, "mother and mother," as it appears on Paulo's original birth certificate, issued at the Florida hospital where he was born.  

"According to the ruling, filiation is a legal element based on biology and our laws do not recognize a child born to two mothers, but at the same time it admitted that the Cuban Civil Registry Law dates back more than 30 years and therefore is not in line with current family dynamics," Dachelys explained, although the ministry has not yet officially delivered the ruling, according to Q de Cuir. 

The birth certificate states that "the registration is practiced by virtue of both mothers as it is a case of double maternity, with legal support in Article 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, which also recognizes the right to form a family, whatever its form of organization, and safeguards the best interests of the child and his or her right to be registered," Dachelys explained.

Cuba had already dealt with situations where there was no specific legislation, such as the first name changes for trans people on the island in the late 1990s, through rulings by the Ministry of Justice. 

"It is a very important step because it is the first time that the Cuban state recognizes that there can be children with two mothers. Today the state recognizes that Cuban families have many different ways of being set up, that they are legitimate and legal," said Hope, the Cuban mother of little Paulo. 

The family will return to Cuba and their case will set a precedent.

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